Bodywork is very time consuming, so much so that it sometimes seems like you'll never get to the actual paint application. Given the extensive body modifications performed on RB's Urban Suburban project truck, there truly was a great passage of time between when the original tan paint was removed and the wild House of Kolor Shimrin Tangelo Pearl and Shimrin Majik Blue Pearl hues were applied.
A beautiful paint job is only as good as the underlying prep work, so many, many hours of block-sanding and guidecoating were logged by the crew at Extreme Metal & Paint in Anacortes, Washington. Their efforts were in addition to all the time spent getting the body as straight as possible at Kimbridge Enterprises in Clearview, Washington.
Once Chris Odom was satisfied with the prep work, he sealed everything by applying House of Kolor white basecoat (BC 26) over the pale green House of Kolor primer. House of Kolor reducer (RU 311) was used with the color coats.
The Urban Suburban was completely blown apart for painting so that all the fender edges, doorjambs, firewall, dashboard, and inner fender panels could be thoroughly covered. It takes an experienced painter like Chris Odom to keep the colors consistent when parts are painted separately. Chris keeps track of how many coats have been applied. Slightly different shades on the fenders, doors, and main body are a sure sign of an inexperienced painter. Paint application has to be uniform throughout the vehicle for a great finish.
Orange is the predominant color, so the House of Kolor Shimrin Tangelo Pearl (PBC 32) was applied first to the fenders and then the main body. The color wasn't applied to the roof, roof posts, or the center of the hood since those areas were to be painted Majik Blue Pearl. The Tangelo was applied high enough that there wouldn't be any thin areas where the two colors meet.
Chris applied four coats of Tangelo Pearl and let it dry overnight. The paint was wet-sanded to make sure everything was smooth and dirt-free before adding four more coats. Wet-sanding between the two color applications also helps avoid excessive solvent buildup. After the last coat of Tangelo was applied, a quick coat of SG 100 Base Clear was shot to seal the color.
Airbrush artist extraordinaire and graphics expert Mike Lavallee was called upon to help with the rip flames (or tear graphics, if you prefer). An experienced artist like Mike can do the job quickly, but this style of graphics lends itself to the amateur painter.
Since the look is purposely ragged, no two areas have to match. That type of inconsistency is perfect for an inexperienced painter. How can someone criticize the design as being wrong when there aren't any specific parameters? Even the brushed-on highlights were done in a shaky style.
Mike and Chris used the original Chris Ito illustration as an approximate guide for the placement of the rip flames. Lots of 2-inch masking tape was used to modify the design until they felt it was ready for paint.
An upper boundary line was established all the way around the general beltline area with blue 3M Fine Line tape. Then three strips of 2-inch masking tape were slightly overlapped as they were applied. The rips will come out of this 5- to 6-inch band of masking tape.
A pen or pencil can be used to approximate where the rips should be. The shapes are truly ripped, not cut. A knife should not be used. Chris and Mike used their fingernails to start an area then slowly ripped the tape with random, jagged edges. They used additional pieces of ripped tape to alter edges as necessary or to fill in areas where too much tape had been removed. If you seem to be making an area progressively worse, you can remove the tape and try again.
Even though the design was supposed to be ragged, the edges were checked before painting. You want ragged edges, but not runs or bleed-through areas. The areas that are covered with tape will be orange and the open areas will be blue. The entire area below the design band was masked off. The areas of orange that were to be painted blue were carefully scuffed and cleaned. The orange paint was fresh so not too much prep work was required. Cleanliness is the main thing.
House of Kolor Shimrin Majik Blue Pearl (PBC 37) was applied in the same manner as the Tangelo Pearl. When the blue paint was dry, Mike Lavalle used an airbrush to apply some darker blue highlights to the rips. House of Kolor Cobalt Blue Candy (KK 05) was used to enhance the glow of the blue where it meets the orange. The Cobalt Blue was allowed to dry for 2 hours before Mike applied hand-painted borders to the graphics.
Then the graphics were unmasked. Care should be exercised any time masking tape is removed so as not to lift an edge. Generally, it works best to pull the tape back over itself or away from itself at a 45- to 90-degree angle. Since these graphics are ripped, it wasn't imperative that the tape be removed perfectly. Any loose or rough edges were lightly brushed away by hand.
Instead of precision pinstriping, like one would find around traditional flames, a lettering quill was used to highlight the borders. Mike used shades of orange ranging from a very light, almost cream, to a dark orange. The paint was applied predominantly to the Tangelo Pearl part of the main paint. In some places, Mike overlapped light and dark shades of orange.
Like so much of custom painting, the brushed-on highlights were placed where the artist thought they best belonged. That is one of those things that can't be described very well but is a matter of experience and artistic ability. Since the graphics appear on the firewall and inside the doorjambs, highlighting was also done in those areas.
After the highlights dried, the entire truck was clearcoated inside and out. The clear was House of Kolor UFC 35 with KU 150 hardener. The clear was allowed to dry for 2 days. Then all the graphic areas were wet-sanded until they were smooth. The rest of the truck was wet-sanded, too. When Chris was satisfied with the smoothness, he applied another round of clear.
This time, the clear was allowed to cure for a week. Then it was wet-sanded again, first with 1,000-grit paper and then with 1,500-grit. The final step was to buff the paint to perfection. Chris estimated 400 hours were spent prepping and painting the Urban Suburban.
The results are stunning. This is one truck that won't slip by unnoticed. An engine hoist and a lot of strong backs were recruited to lift the freshly painted body onto the completed chassis. The body and chassis were rolled into a trailer and hauled back to Kimbridge Enterprises for final assembly. The doors, hood, rear hatch, and fenders were wrapped in moving pads and transported separately.
To lessen the chances of scratching or chipping something, the front clip, doors, and fenders will be safely stored while the interior is trimmed and the truck is wired and plumbed. With the doors off and the engine fully exposed, it's much easier to perform the myriad big and little tasks needed to complete the Urban Suburban.
We left the Urban Suburban last time at Extreme Metal & Paint in Anacortes, WA, where the
Chris dried the parts and wiped them down with a fresh tack rag before applying paint. Not
House of Kolor products were used exclusively on the Urban Suburban. The company seems to
Four initial coats of House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl were applied and allowed to dry. Then t
The roof and center of the hood didn't receive any orange paint because they will later be
Blue fine line tape was used to establish the top edge of the graphics. A few light pencil
A marking pen can be used to rough out the rip lines if desired. If you want a reasonable
An alternative to pulling the tape out of all three strips is to make the top edge first t
This style of graphics involves a lot of moving shapes and altering their size. The rip se
House of Kolor Majik Blue Pearl was applied to the upper part of the truck using the same
Before the tape was removed, Mike Lavalle applied some House of Kolor Cobalt Blue Candy hi
Reasonable care should be exercised when removing the masking tape from around the graphic
Mike applied several shades of orange paint to the edges of the rips. He used a small lett
The entire truck was clearcoated and wet-sanded twice, including the dashboard, which was
The body was left on the painting cart until it was time to reunite it with the chassis. W
A heavy fog rolled in off Fidalgo Bay as the Urban Surburban was rolled into its trailer f